Hedge funds Bridgewater, Winton register to launch products in China

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Renowned global hedge fund managers Bridgewater Associates LP and Winton Group Ltd have had registrations to launch products in China accepted at a time of turbulence in capital markets, reflecting a change in the government’s stance toward such foreign funds.

The Shanghai subsidiaries of Bridgewater and Winton both registered at the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC) on June 29, showed notices posted on the association’s website on Tuesday, paving way for private fund launches in the country.

According to rules, asset managers must launch products within six months of registration.

Their registration comes as China’s stock and currency markets have been roiled by investors spooked by threats of tit-for-tat import tariffs between the U.S. and Chinese governments.

In overseas markets, Bridgewater and Winton use quantitative strategies that build both long and short positions in various markets to make money. It is not clear what type of products they plan to launch in China.

Allowing such hedge fund managers to launch products at a time of market turmoil highlights China’s commitment to opening up its market, and contrasts with the government’s stance toward foreign hedge funds during China’s 2015 stock market crash.

At that time, the government largely blamed the crash on “malicious” short-selling by domestic and foreign “speculators”.

Bridgewater, the world’s biggest hedge fund firm with $160 billion worth of assets under management, opened its China unit in 2016. Its billionaire founder, Ray Dalio, toured China earlier this year to promote his book “Principles”.

British investment manager Winton has long been active in China. It has been providing advisory services in China through local partnerships and is licensed to help Chinese invest aboard.

Reporting by Samuel Shen and John RuwitchEditing by Christopher Cushing